Sold!

I sold my soul tonight.  I didn’t want to.  I actually tried begging off it.  But it was where I had to go.

I was lying on the bed relaxing when I found myself reliving a drowning accident a couple years ago: the cool, clear water had closed over my head and 2-3 inches of shimmer separated me from my children’s faces and the crystal blue sky behind them.  On that day, my young son had slipped into deep water and my two older boys were unable to overcome the current to pull him out.  I dove to their rescue, but found the same thing:  we could keep him above water, but at our own peril.   Just as I was at the end of my lung capacity, my husband came from behind and, without fighting the current,  was able to float our young son to safety.  I shot instantly out of the water to a large rock 10 feet away.  Even though shore was closer behind me, that rock was secure, in my line of sight, and out of the water.  I was safe on my rock, and I thanked God profusely for saving us.

This time, though, was different.  The video was the same, but now I was only rescuing myself.  It was more of a vision than a nightmare; I was still aware of being on my bed.  I was also very conscious of an increasing inability to breathe.  As the panic fully welled up, I sensed an inaudible voice telling me to let go, stop struggling, and just allow myself to sink.  It was clear; it was weird.   But it was very real, and my heart was pounding.  I realized that if I was going to get out of the water this time, it would not be my life with my agenda I would live;  I was to seek God and His righteousness.  I would walk out of there a different person.

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.”  The familiar words from my first guitar lesson ran through my head.  I know it by heart; we are not to worry about clothes or food, for God will provide all we require.  If we merely look to God instead of ourselves, “all these things will be added unto you, Hallelu, Hallelujah.”  Even though I’ve had that song memorized since I was 12 and have sung it to every one of my children, it obviously had never really reached the depths of who I am, because I was being asked to choose my priorities with these words at the center.  Either I can follow through with what I’ve professed all these years, or I can turn away and become Me.  Which is it?  How capable am I on my own?

I’d had a feeling this morning during my devotional time, studying that familiar passage, that something was different.  The words were tugging at me.   I prayed in the shower that I would seek God first – completely – today.  That He would guide me in discerning what was His will.

But this evening I was tired.  It’d been a long, stressful day and my duties were not done.  And there I was, lying limply across the bed, unwilling to do anything more and not caring either way.  My mind was incredibly clear in an inner conversation with God.   I wondered who was actually talking, me or Him.  Why was this incident being brought to mind, and why did it come with a choice this time?  I let myself drift back to semi-consciousness.  I saw again the water close with its sparkling ripples over my head, felt my chest constrict with breath, and sensed that I had to choose now.   Would I truly put my life and future into the hands of this unseen God and trust that He would make all things right?  I had no clue what I was joining back in junior high when I first decided to become a Christian.  Now I know.  It’s not about me and my desires; life is about being God’s hands and feet.  But as much as I’ve tried to follow Scripture, every year is harder and I’ve racked up more, bigger failures.  I see only hopelessness ahead.  I’d like to jump off this world I know I’ve helped create for myself.  Panic was welling up in my chest and nausea began coming over me in waves as I struggled with this decision.  If what I’ve done so far has been right, why has nothing worked?  With only diminishing returns, it is stupid to continue this path.  But God says He will not forsake me.  I have been relieved lately to finally understand Scripture and feel His presence by my side.   He is real.  I must stop struggling to survive on my own, in my own wisdom, and let Him do as He sees fit with me.  I needed to let my self drown.  Oh God, — !  Just then, I saw a cross above the pond that wasn’t there that summer and realized the significance. I will, again, come out of the water and dry off.  He has already died – for me.  If I will grasp onto this in faith, I can walk away.  But I will not be Me anymore.   I will be His and do what He tells me to do, which is whatever duty He puts at my hand.  He will take care of the rest.  I trade in my broken wreck of a life for His perfect one.  I would be so grateful if someone bought me a Rolls Royce in return for my broken down Vega.  I would take such great care of that Rolls and do exactly what was asked of me.  This is precisely what I was being offered with my life.  I just have to keep faith that it’s real.

What’s really frightening is how many people I know now were praying for me.  There are people who don’t truly believe in God’s omnipotence, who won’t follow Him themselves, but have asked Him for my welfare because that’s what’s right.  There are solid Christians who’ve been pleading with Him for a long time for His hand in my life.  There are those I’ve never met who’ve unwittingly prayed for me in asking for those around me.  God has answered all of them, even though most of them will never realize what an impact they had.

Now I pray for strength that I would get up tomorrow morning and walk on, not as a martyr to my dreams, but as a conqueror who just has to mop up before receiving his award ceremony.  This is scary as all hell to me – this decision is akin to signing my life on the line of a blank check and giving it to someone I don’t know personally.   But I’ve lived quite a while now by His words, and He’s never let me down.  So to quote one who’s done the same, “Here I stand; I can do no other.”

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8 thoughts on “Sold!

  1. Perhaps it’s because it’s memorial weekend,I’m not sure, but your post reminded me of that movie “Saving Private Ryan” have you seen it? After numerous men die to save him he’s told by his dying rescuer to “earn this” and he spends his whole life trying to be worthy of the lives that were lost so that he could live free!

    “Here I stand; I can do no other.”

    I also feel I have a similar relationship to Jesus, not out of any obligation but out of love for what He did for me!

    “But as much as I’ve tried to follow Scripture, every year is harder and I’ve racked up more, bigger failures.”

    It sounds as if you’ve lived a life of “temporary provision” like the Israelite’s in the wilderness, maybe the reason for that in your life is also to bring you to a place of permanent provision He has for you, and to prepare you to do the great things He’s planned for you!

    “not as a martyr to my dreams, but as a conqueror who just has to mop up before receiving his award ceremony. ”

    I’m not totally sure what you meant here, so forgive this comment if it seems out of place,

    but…

    Why not instead go out and do the great things God has prepared and preserved you for?

    We all have a calling and a purpose in Gods Kingdom, a place of service where we belong.

    what’s yours?

    • I don’t feel I’m here out of any obligation; I’m just experiencing life as He brings it on. As I said, I obviously haven’t understood my faith very fully in the past. My martyr comment is just about making sure my attitude is right tomorrow. I can walk out tomorrow, sigh and say, “oh, I must carry my cross…” or I can be victorious in the realization of new life as yet unseen. I have been preserved for a purpose – and my eyes are wide open to see what that is.
      Thanks for your comments!

  2. There is nothing like a near death experience to change the way someone looks at the world. First of all, I’m very happy that all turned out well for you and your family. Many times a situation like this doesn’t. The feeling you experienced in bed was your mind trying to find a way in it’s experience to describe what it was going through trying to break through the barrier you had built up to deal with everyday life. Getting past the fear of change can be a very traumatic and difficult to do. Your faith in God will be your salvation in your journey in letting go of that fear. You’ve already faced the very real possibility of death and come through it with a new perspective on life.

    I’m still going through this process and am trying to get rid of the residual fear and anger that I carry from past experience. My wife is going through it now and has been using AA and their philosophy as a guide. It doesn’t matter which help you use to get there, admitting you need to change and a willingness to change is the first step. Fear is the killer. Fear of failure, of disappointing others, of facing the challenges of life. The list goes on and on. Life is meant to be enjoyed. Giving and taking from others in all manners and living life on life’s terms are essential. One of the problems I have with religion is that people can get so caught up in trying to live a life in the service of God that they forget that a life in the service of their fellow man for it’s own sake is the true path to God.

    OK. Off my personal soapbox. Be strong and give and take the love of your family and those around you without personal thought. This journey can be very difficult but use your faith in God to guide you through and you will be fine. Don’t let fear overwhelm you. In the words of F.D.R., we have nothing to fear but fear itself. It’s just life. Nothing to get all worked up about.

  3. Thank you for sharing Brennie. I find that I cannot simply read your blog posts as if reading a letter or even a diary. I have to make the time to really read and digest what you feel and experience in your writing. I love that. Today i followed a car (minivan) with two bumper stickers: “I was put on this earth to embarrass my teenagers in front of their friends”, and “Put your big girl panties on and deal with it”. My 21-year old daughter commented on that being a prett weak life-purpose, and that sometimes it takes more than just “big girl panties” to make things right.
    Your “sold” post (which I believe could have been better named something like “purchased”) won’t fit on a bumper sticker, but it has such a deeper understanding of life and who we can be because of who He is. While I can sorta see you with those bumper stickers on a beat-up old pickup, I can’t see you really believing that they hold any reality in them.
    Thanks for your thoughts, and for sharing your “conversations” with us. God does bless you!

  4. That sounds like one scary experience. Amazing how God can use things like that to teach us so much over extended periods of time….Enjoyed your post as always!! And thanks for stopping by my blog earlier, too 🙂

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